Sometimes it pays to be negative…especially when optimizing a Pay-per-Click (PPC) campaign. The main goal of Google and the other search engines is to deliver the most relevant paid (and natural) results to a search query when a visitor uses their search engine. Seems pretty simple and works exceptionally well when you have a well structured PPC campaign. If someone searches on a keyword that you feel is relevant to your business, be sure that keyword is included in your campaign. But what happens when the search query triggers your ad and the visitor isn’t the most targeted prospect? Well, you still have to pay for that click and if that continues over time, you could be wasting a sizeable portion of your budget on unqualified traffic. Implement negative keywords into your campaign to help cut costs, optimize your campaign and zero-in on your target customer.
For example, if you provide a high-end product or service, utilize negative keywords like “cheap”, “low cost”, and “inexpensive”. This will help filter out visitors who are looking for your “type” of product or service, but aren’t the target customer who can afford your product or service. It seems like a simple idea but the savings are real and the higher your target budget, the greater the cost savings. In addition, negative keywords will help overall campaign optimization because your ads will not be delivered to the wrong search query. You could expect to see higher click-thru rates (CTR) and better conversions as the visitors generated by your sponsored ads become more targeted.
Google has a keyword tool which helps campaign managers develop keyword lists. This same tool can be used to develop negative keywords as well. Leverage the broad match search settings within the tool and it could return thousands of possible keywords, many of which can and should be added to the campaign as negative keywords. In addition, if you have Google Analytics tracking on your site, utilize that tool to determine your best and worst performing keywords. By reviewing both the organic and paid traffic (and the keywords that generate that traffic) you can further expand your negative keyword list with the non-performing, budget wasting keywords.
Quite simply, by implementing negative keywords you can help optimize your campaign, drive more targeted traffic to your site and save money on your PPC costs. That is the formula for success in search engine marketing and ensuring a favorable return on your advertising spend.
Since working at MoreVisibility, I’ve had the opportunity to look at the many different aspects of client campaigns in order to determine the most effective search engine marketing strategy. When walking through the door, every client has a different level of understanding and experience with search engine marketing. While some clients tend to pay attention to the ads, other clients may be more concerned with the keywords. One area of particular importance that many clients do not even know about, are negative keywords. I call negative keywords the ‘unsung heroes’ of the campaign. Negative keywords are keywords or phrases that are added to the campaign that prevent the ad from showing when they are entered into search queries. By adding negative keywords you will be eliminating a large amount of irrelevant searches or superfluous clicks which, in turn, can increase your return on investment and save you money.
Only recently, I was working on a client’s campaign in the heavy duty construction industry. When digging deeper into the account (no pun intended) I discovered a large list of potential negative keywords. While it was helpful to add negative keywords along the lines of toys, games and costumes; it was also helpful to add negative keywords related to accidents, injuries and crashes. It’s just as important to concentrate on the negative keywords as it is to focus of the search keywords. One helpful tool to utilize when creating your list of negative keywords is the Google keywords tool. By entering keywords into the search, you can see the volume of searches conducted on your industry or product; you can use all the search volume information and keywords that it produces to decided whether or not these terms are relevant to your business objectives.
So remember, it’s ok to think negatively sometimes…it may save you a lot of money and increase your ROI.
It’s no secret that effective ads and landing pages are crucial to the success of your search engine marketing efforts. Perhaps you’ve already created compelling copy relevant to your keywords, achieved top positions on the search results pages, and optimized the design and usability of your landing pages. All of this may have increased your site’s traffic and conversions, but do you still want more? Try offering an incentive.
Appealing incentives are proven to persuade searchers to not only click on your ads but also convert once they arrive at your landing page. Depending on the nature of your business, you can offer a free white paper or book, discount, web special, complementary product or accessory, gift, or free shipping to boost conversions. According to an article in Practical eCommerce, 84% of online shoppers surveyed during last year’s holiday season said they were most influenced by free shipping offers, while 77% cited sales and specials as their strongest motivators.
However, when it comes to determining the ideal incentive for your site, it’s best to test. Remember that while an incentive is a value-add for your customers, it’s also an incremental cost to you. That’s why it’s important to consider how it affects your bottom line. A recent study in Marketing Experiments Journal confirms that conversion rate alone cannot indicate which incentive has the most positive impact on net profit. Instead, the journal recommends using Return-On-Incentive, or ROIc, to measure this. Simply stated, the ROIc is the net cost of the incentive subtracted from its net profit. For instance, a free shipping offer might result in more conversions, but a free gift might be a better incentive because it yields a higher ROIc. Check out the study to learn more about calculating ROIc and using it to test two or more incentives.
Are you utilizing incentives to your advantage today?